Last week I was having a really rough day at work. Really rough. In fact, it was so bad that even though it wasn’t time to punch out just yet, I needed to get the eff outta there. I grabbed a few folks and said, “Hey, let’s go to Borders for the rest of the afternoon”. (Yes, I can do this at my job. In fact, it’s actually encouraged).
My staff knew that I have having a bad day and understood this was exactly why I was taking people to Borders. On my way out one of my staff said to me, “Make sure you do something for your Recovery today”. I smiled, then laughed, and thought to myself, “ok, sure. My Recovery”. But instead I said to him simply, “I will”.
Sidebar: Working in the mental health field creates a closeness between coworkers that I do not believe exists in any other workplace. We know things about each other that even our closest family and friends do not know. We support each other and lean on each other, and more specifically the to dept that I work in, we strive for a family environment between staff and members alike. We are drawn to the profession because we care about the well-being others. In turn, we look out for each other. End sidebar.
I head out to Borders, do my thang, and go home when I’m done. I’m still irritated about what transpired and when I lay my head on my pillow at the end of the night I don’t really feel any better about the situation, and only hope that tomorrow will be a brighter day.
Fast forward to this past Saturday. Again, I was having a down day, but this time more related to the winter blues than anything else. I had had high hopes for the day, and thought that I was going to accomplish a myriad of things. Instead I awoke and could barely pull myself out of bed. I thought that if maybe I just got up and showered, that would be like hitting the proverbial reset button. Nope. Then I thought, “well, my house is kinda a mess, so maybe if I clean up a little I’ll feel better”. I had wanted to give it a thorough cleaning, but was placated to just pick up and dust off. But the cleaning still didn’t help. Finally at 1pm I gave up. I laid down on the couch, tossing the now insurmountable To Do list to the wayside.
Four hours pass, and I am still on the couch. My coworker’s words from days ago began to ring in my head- “Make sure you do something for your Recovery”. When people not in the field think of the concept of Recovery they generally assume it refers to drug and alcohol addiction. But what Recovery really means is taking care of yourself so that you may achieve and maintain your optimum level of well-being, whatever that is for you personally. And Recovery is not limited to people in drug and alcohol or mental health programs. It is anyone. It is you; it is me; it is everyone who deals with the normal highs and lows of life. It is all of us.
Lying on the couch I realized that I had not been taking care of myself; not doing what I needed to, to make sure that I was feeling good mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually. I had not been doing this since, at least, my really rough day at work. I know what I need to do for myself when I start feeling down in the dumps, and I just wasn’t doing it.
At that moment, I picked up my phone and called the BF. I invited him on a “date”. We agreed to meet up at the half way point to a favorite restaurant and have dinner together. After we dined we made our way to the video store, went back to my house, made popcorn and watched the movies until the wee hours of the night.
I had done something for my Recovery, and the next day felt more equipped to work on the tasks I planned on accomplishing the day previous. Since then, I have made the conscious effort to take care of myself a little bit everyday. Sometimes it’s as simple as taking a warm bath with a good book, or others it’s paying bills. Whatever it is that I do, it’s something that makes me feel good, and keeps me in a positive mindset. And it has made all the difference.
So, now I ask all those reading this: What have you done for your Recovery today?